1995 NCAA Division I-A football season

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The 1995 NCAA Division I-A football season was the first year of the Bowl Alliance.

Tom Osborne led Nebraska to its second straight national title with a victory over Florida in the Fiesta Bowl.

This match up was only possible because of the new Bowl Alliance. Under the old system, Nebraska would have been tied to the Orange Bowl and Florida to the Sugar Bowl. The Bowl Alliance created a national championship game which would rotate between the Orange, Sugar, and Fiesta Bowls free of conference tie-ins and featuring the #1 and #2 teams as chosen by the Bowl Alliance Poll. The Pac-10 and Big Ten chose not to participate, keeping their tie-ins with the Rose Bowl.

Nebraska was showing signs of dynasty, playing in its third consecutive national title game, and became the first school to claim back to back titles since the 1970s. This was an amazingly dominant Nebraska team, averaging 52 points per game and a 39 point average margin of victory, including a 62-24 victory over Florida. This lopsided victory came after Florida was picked by many sportswriters to win the game.

Ohio State almost managed to create a national title controversy, going into its final regular season game against Michigan undefeated and ranked #2. Had they finished the season #2 the Bowl Alliance would have been unable to pit #1 vs. #2 as the Big Ten champ was tied to the Rose Bowl. Fortunately for the Bowl Alliance, Michigan upset Ohio State, but Buckeye running back Eddie George still managed to win the Heisman Trophy.

Things were lively in the state of Florida, where the Florida Gators won their third straight SEC championship. Florida State started the season #1, but lost an ACC game for the first time ever when Virginia stopped a last minute drive a few inches from the end zone, knocking them out of the national title race.

However, Northwestern was able to steal the show as the year's Cinderella story. Its only regular season loss came against Miami-OH. Northwestern began the season with an upset of Notre Dame and went on to defeat Michigan and Penn State later in the season. Undefeated in the Big Ten after decades as a doormat, the Wildcats went on to face USC in the Rose Bowl. However, the Wildcats lost to the Trojans in what was a see-saw game until USC pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Miami and Alabama had to sit the post season out, as they were on NCAA probation.

The Southwest Conference played its final game ever, an 18–17 Houston win over Rice. Four of its members would join the Big 8 to form the Big 12; the other four were split between the WAC and the newly formed Conference USA.

The Hall of Fame Bowl, originally played in Birmingham, then moved to Tampa, Florida gained corporate sponsorship, and was now known as the Outback Bowl. The Freedom Bowl was discontinued and the Holiday Bowl absorbed its WAC tie-in.

University of North Texas upgraded to Division 1-A football this season bringing the total number of teams to 108.

The first ever Division I-A overtime game was played during the 1995 bowl season, the Las Vegas Bowl between Toledo and Nevada. Overtime would be adopted permanently for all games in 1996. Due to the adoption of overtime, the season-ending 3-3 game between Wisconsin and Illinois on November 25 is the last tied game in Division 1-A.

Rule Changes[edit]

  • Overtime was introduced for bowl games only in Division I-A. The system is similar to one used in lower division postseason games; Each team gets one possession at the defense's 25 yard line per overtime period and continues until the tie is broken.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will be assessed on any player who removes his helmet in the field of play other than due to injury.
  • Officials were instructed to strictly enforce anti-taunting and anti-showboating rules passed in the 1991 season.
  • The home team is allowed to wear white jerseys if they receive written permission from the visiting school in advance, rescinding the 1983 rule requiring the visitors to wear white. This rule was personally lobbied by new LSU coach Gerry DiNardo, since the Bayou Bengals wore white at home from the late 1950s through 1982. The Southeastern Conference adjusted the rule in 1997 for conference games, when it stated the home team would receive first choice of jersey color, regardless of the visiting team's wishes.

Conference standings[edit]

1995 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#4 Florida State §   7 1         10 2  
#16 Virginia §   7 1         9 4  
Clemson   6 2         8 4  
Georgia Tech   5 3         6 5  
North Carolina   4 4         7 5  
Maryland   4 4         6 5  
NC State   2 6         3 8  
Duke   1 7         3 8  
Wake Forest   0 8         1 10  
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Big 8 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#1 Nebraska 7 0 0     12 0 0
#5 Colorado 5 2 0     10 2 0
#7 Kansas State 5 2 0     10 2 0
#9 Kansas 5 2 0     10 2 0
Oklahoma 2 5 0     5 5 1
Oklahoma State 2 5 0     4 8 0
Iowa State 1 6 0     3 8 0
Missouri 1 6 0     3 8 0
*† – Bowl Alliance representative as champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Big East football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#10 Virginia Tech §   6 1         10 2  
#20 Miami (FL) §   6 1         8 3  
#19 Syracuse   5 2         9 3  
West Virginia   4 3         5 6  
Boston College   4 3         4 8  
Rutgers   2 5         4 7  
Temple   1 6         1 10  
Pittsburgh   0 7         2 9  
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#8/7 Northwestern 8 0 0     10 2 0
#6/8 Ohio State 7 1 0     11 2 0
#13/12 Penn State 5 3 0     9 3 0
#17/19 Michigan 5 3 0     9 4 0
Michigan State 4 3 1     6 5 1
#25/22 Iowa 4 4 0     8 4 0
Illinois 3 4 1     5 5 1
Wisconsin 3 4 1     4 5 2
Purdue 2 5 1     4 6 1
Minnesota 1 7 0     3 8 0
Indiana 0 8 0     2 9 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll
1995 Big West Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Nevada   7 0         9 3  
Southwestern Louisiana   4 2         6 5  
Utah State   4 3         4 7  
Arkansas State   3 3         6 5  
Northern Illinois   3 3         3 8  
New Mexico State   3 4         4 7  
San Jose State   3 4         3 8  
Louisiana Tech   2 4         5 6  
Pacific   2 4         3 8  
UNLV   1 5         2 9  
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#24 Toledo 7 0 1     11 0 1
Miami 6 1 1     8 2 1
Ball State 6 2 0     7 4 0
Western Michigan 6 2 0     7 4 0
Eastern Michigan 5 3 0     6 5 0
Bowling Green 3 5 0     5 6 0
Central Michigan 2 6 0     4 7 0
Akron 2 6 0     2 9 0
Ohio 1 6 1     2 8 1
Kent State 0 7 1     1 9 1
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Pacific-10 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#12 USC § 6 1 1     9 2 1
Washington § 6 1 1     7 4 1
#18 Oregon 6 2 0     9 3 0
Stanford 5 3 0     7 4 1
UCLA 4 4 0     7 5 0
Arizona 4 4 0     6 5 0
Arizona State 4 4 0     6 5 0
California 2 6 0     3 8 0
Washington State 2 6 0     3 8 0
Oregon State 0 8 0     1 10 0
§ – Conference co-champions
  • As Washington and USC tied, Non-Conference record was the tie-breaking rule used to select USC for the Rose Bowl
    Rankings from AP Poll
1995 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Eastern Division
#2 Florida x 8 0 0     12 1 0
#3 Tennessee 7 1 0     11 1 0
Georgia 3 5 0     6 6 0
South Carolina 2 5 1     4 6 1
Kentucky 2 6 0     4 7 0
Vanderbilt 1 7 0     2 9 0
Western Division
Arkansas x 6 2 0     8 5 0
#21 Alabama 5 3 0     8 3 0
#22 Auburn 5 3 0     8 4 0
LSU 4 3 1     7 4 1
Ole Miss 3 5 0     6 5 0
Mississippi State 1 7 0     3 8 0
Championship: Florida 34, Arkansas 3
† – Conference champion
x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Southwest Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#14 Texas 7 0 0     10 2 1
#15 Texas A&M 5 2 0     9 3 0
#23 Texas Tech 5 2 0     9 3 0
Baylor 5 2 0     7 4 0
TCU 3 4 0     6 5 0
Houston 2 5 0     2 9 0
Rice 1 6 0     2 8 1
SMU 0 7 0     1 10 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 WAC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Colorado State §   6 2         8 4  
BYU §   6 2         7 4  
Utah §   6 2         7 4  
Air Force §   6 2         8 5  
San Diego State   5 3         8 4  
Wyoming   4 4         6 5  
Fresno State   2 6         5 7  
New Mexico   2 6         4 7  
Hawaii   2 6         4 8  
UTEP   1 7         2 10  
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll
1995 Division I-A independents football records
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
East Carolina         9 3 0
#11 Notre Dame         9 3 0
Louisville         7 4 0
Cincinnati         6 5 0
Southern Miss         6 5 0
Army         5 5 1
Navy         5 6 0
Tulsa         4 7 0
Northeast Louisiana         2 9 0
North Texas         2 9 0
Tulane         2 9 0
Rankings from AP Poll

#1 and #2 Progress[edit]

WEEKS #1 #2 Event Date
PRE-9 Florida State Nebraska Nebraska 44, Colorado 21 Oct 28
10 Nebraska Florida State Virginia 33, Florida St. 28 Nov 2
11-13 Nebraska Ohio State+ Michigan 31, Ohio State 23 Nov 25
14-15 Nebraska Florida Nebraska 62, Florida 24 Jan 1

+Ohio State, a Big Ten school, was not part of the Bowl Alliance. Florida was #3 during weeks 11 through 13.

Bowl Games[edit]

Final AP Poll[edit]

  1. Nebraska
  2. Florida
  3. Tennessee
  4. Florida State
  5. Colorado
  6. Ohio State
  7. Kansas State
  8. Northwestern
  9. Kansas
  10. Virginia Tech
  11. Notre Dame
  12. USC
  13. Penn State
  14. Texas
  15. Texas A&M
  16. Virginia
  17. Michigan
  18. Oregon
  19. Syracuse
  20. Miami-FL
  21. Alabama
  22. Auburn
  23. Texas Tech
  24. Toledo
  25. Iowa

Final Coaches Poll[edit]

  1. Nebraska
  2. Tennessee
  3. Florida
  4. Colorado
  5. Florida St.
  6. Kansas St.
  7. Northwestern
  8. Ohio St.
  9. Virginia Tech
  10. Kansas
  11. Southern California
  12. Penn St.
  13. Notre Dame
  14. Texas
  15. Texas A&M
  16. Syracuse
  17. Virginia
  18. Oregon
  19. Michigan
  20. Texas Tech
  21. Auburn
  22. Iowa
  23. East Carolina
  24. Toledo
  25. LSU

Heisman Trophy Voting[edit]

The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award is given to the Most Outstanding Player of the year

Winner: Eddie George, Ohio State, Running Back (1460 votes)

Other Major Awards[edit]

References[edit]